Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Violent clashes between police and protesters in Cairo leave 10 dead and hundreds wounded - 21st Nov 2011

Violent clashes between protesters and Egypt’s military police flared again yesterday, leaving at least ten dead and hundreds injured.

By last night thousands of demonstrators had returned to Tahrir Square in Cairo and vowed to set up an occupation camp – potentially setting the scene for a third day of trouble today.

More than 5,000 demonstrators had gathered in the capital over the weekend in protest at the stalled revolution, amid growing fears that the country is sliding towards a military dictatorship. There were two further deaths on Saturday.

They were confronted by police and soldiers on foot and in army personnel carriers who used tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges to disperse the crowds.

Demonstrators in the square, which was at the centre of protests that led to the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak, hurled rocks at the police line.

‘You are not legitimate!’ they chanted at the security forces. Read More

Scores of flights cancelled in London and Amsterdam due to fog

Hundreds of passengers had their journeys disrupted last night as fog grounded flights at London airports.

At Heathrow, 132 flights, most of them short-haul, were cancelled and many others delayed.

Officials warned that the poor visibility could continue for the first half of today.

London City Airport said 44 flights were suspended and dozens delayed or diverted due to the poor weather, though all restrictions had been lifted by late last night. Read More

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake NEW IRELAND REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 21st Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck the New Ireland Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 37.2 km (23.1 miles), the quake hit at 03:48:40 UTC Monday 21st November 2011.
The epicenter was 105 km ( 65 miles) South of Kavieng, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

6.0 Magnitude Earthquake MYANMAR - 21st Nov 2011

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck Myanmar at a depth of 121 km (75.2 miles), the quake hit at 03:15:43 UTC Monday 21st November 2011.
The epicenter was 130 km ( 80 miles) East of Imphal, Manipur, India
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - 21st Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Mindanao, Philippines at a depth of 204.8 km (127.3 miles), the quake hit at 02:46:58 UTC Monday 21st November 2011.
The epicenter was 51 km ( 31 miles) ESE of General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake EASTERN IRAN - 21st Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck Eastern Iran at a depth of 28 km (17.4 miles), the quake hit at 01:56:46 UTC Monday 21st November 2011.
The epicenter was 96 km ( 59 miles) Southeast of Birjand, Iran
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS - 21st Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck South of the Fiji Islands at a depth of 404.8 km (251.5 miles), the quake hit at 01:39:06 UTC Monday 21st November 2011.
The epicenter was 259 km ( 160 miles) South of Ndoi Island, Fiji
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.3 Magnitude Earthquake REYKJANES RIDGE - 20th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake has struck the Reykjanes Ridge at a depth of 60 km (37.2 miles), the quake hit at 22:04:30 UTC Sunday 20th November 2011.
The epicenter was 703 km ( 435.8 miles) Southwest of Reykjavik, Iceland
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.7 Magnitude Earthquake PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION - 20th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake has struck the Philippine Islands Region at a depth of 81.3 km (50.5 miles), the quake hit at 21:25:40 UTC Sunday 20th November 2011.
The epicenter was 234 km ( 145 miles) ESE of General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Jose Pimentel arrested over a plot to detonate a bomb in New York City

A man has been arrested over a plot to detonate a bomb in New York City.

The city's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said a 27-year-old man was facing three terror charges following his arrest.

Mr Bloomberg said Jose Pimentel is an "Al Qaeda sympathiser" who was operating as a "lone wolf" without any links to foreign terrorist groups.

It is claimed that Pimentel, a US citizen, had armed forces personnel, police and postal facilities among his intended targets.

New York's police commissioner Raymond Kelly said Pimentel is an alleged follower of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, who was killed in a raid by the US in Yemen in September:

"(Pimentel) talked about killing US servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,particularly US army and marine corps personnel.

"He talked about bombing post offices in and around Washington Heights and police cars in New York City, as well as a police station in New Jersey."

"He talked about changing his name to Osama Hussein, to celebrate his heroes, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein," Commissioner Kelly said.

Mayor Bloomberg showed the news conference a video reconstruction of the impact of the devices Pimentel is alleged to have been planning to use.

The footage shows a car being destroyed by an explosion. source

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‘Zombie bankers’ to drag Europe into ‘banker hell’ – Keiser

It seems bankers are taking over politics in Europe, financial analyst Max Keiser told RT, adding that this trend could lead to global banking domination.

­“We cannot get rid of these zombie bankers, we can’t kill them,” said Keiser, host of RT’s Keiser Report. “Iceland thought they had killed off their zombie terrorist bankers, but they have risen again and are now sticking Iceland. They are a plague around the world, and certainly in Europe. There are no elections, but they are putting bankers in charge to bring back total banking domination as the world goes down the slippery slope into banker hell.”

Keiser told RT these former bankers’ main agenda is to create more debt.

“In the eurozone they have an opportunity to bring all the balance sheets of all the countries together and create new lending facilities like EFSF which is a new 5 trillion euro lending facility, and they want to build on that to create 10-20 trillion euro lending facilities, because bankers get paid on how much debt they create. More austerity measures bring about more debt, and that brings more fees for bankers and more financial terrorism,” he explained.

According to Keiser a very small elite continues to benefit from the disastrous situation in the eurozone, which continues these same ploys that it has carried out over the last few years. more

Is Ron Paul the only one that wants peace?

Ron Paul has distanced himself from the other GOP hopefuls on practically every platform. While it’s to be expected that each candidate campaigns with their own agendas, he's been the only to say something that should resonate with most of America:

Peace is good.

During the most recent Republican debate, Paul was only awarded 89 seconds over the span of 90 minutes to voice his opinion on America’s foreign policy. In just that minute and a half, however, Congressman Paul had no problem separating himself from Romney, Cain, Perry, Bachmann and Gingrich by shutting down not just America’s ongoing wars, but the egregious practices that the US military employs on detained prisoners of war.

Both Bachmann and Cain used last week’s debate to voice their support for waterboarding detainees in order to drain them of intelligence. Paul, however, was quick to call out the practice as torture and condemn the country’s use of it during times of war.

"Anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. And that's not something we do — period," said the congressman.

Cain tried to distance himself from the topic of torture during the debate, arguing that he “would trust the judgment of our military leaders to determine what is torture and what is not torture." In his opinion, however, waterboarding was a legitimate practice and if it was up to him, the practice would be continued.

Could Cain lose the GOP nod, Americans might expect the White House to continue approving waterboarding as a legitimate technique. In an interview with conservative radio host Michael Savage in the days after the debate, Cain entertained the idea of serving the country as Secretary of Defense, “to help the generals and commanders on the ground to get what they need, to do what they do best, and that is kick the you-know-what out of everyone in the world.” more

Ruin & Rebuild: Warfare worth $300bln Libya windfall

Libya has big plans for its post-war future, hoping to be reborn as the next Dubai and having all the necessary sun and beaches, with oil reserves aplenty. British companies are likely to come out on top of those lining up for a piece of the action.

It was France and the UK who initially led the effort to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Britain, together with France, sent their navy and fighter jets to establish a sea blockade and assault military targets on Libyan territory.

Now the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya says its friends will be rewarded – and these are not just words.

In the last two weeks, the UK Department for Trade and Industry led a working party to Libya to look around at what needed rebuilding. The British government department estimates that Libyan contracts, in sectors from oil and gas to education and construction, could be worth some $315 billion over the next decade.

Oil firms Shell and BP have already held talks with the Libyan transitional government, which pledged to honor the Gaddafi-era contracts with them.

Now the NTC delegation is in London to hold talks with top business executives on the “massive opportunity to rebuild Libya.” more

Saab Unveils Amazing 'Magic Maps' for Military -- How long before it's used against citizens?

Maps may not sound sexy. But Saab's real-time 3D maps will nonetheless make your eyes pop.

Remember those magic maps from the Harry Potter books that tracked the location of every wizard at Hogwarts -- down to the last footstep? Saab’s Rapid 3D Mapping is far, far cooler. can exclusively reveal this never-before-seen military technology, which can create an incredibly detailed and accurate 3D map of a battlefield and -- with the help of footage from a nearby drone as an overlay -- provide real-time information on the war zone. These maps are "geo-referenced," meaning they incorporate latitude, longitude and height, and they’re accurate to within an amazing four inches.

"We truly believe that Rapid 3D Mapping will revolutionize the field of geospatial intelligence and the way military and security forces get access to much needed accurately geo-referenced data," Saab director Michael Olofsson told

Given that this is cutting-edge technology, Saab's Olofsson won't explain exactly how it works, other than in general terms -- it uses aerial images from aircraft, UAVs, helicopters and satellites to build its terrain maps. All the company needs is the exact location of a camera in the sky to work out precise angles.

Once built, the potential applications for this technology are limitless. more

All major economies headed for slowdowns - OECD

None of the world's major economies will escape a slowdown, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Monday, highlighting increasing signs that growth momentum is dwindling across the board.

The Paris-based organisation's composite leading indicator (CLI) for its members fell for the seventh straight month to 100.4 in September, down from 100.9 in August and hitting the lowest reading since December 2009.

Readings for individual countries and big developing world economies were broadly lower at levels indicating slowdowns, and were in many cases below their long-term averages.

"Compared to last month's assessment, the CLIs point more strongly to slowdowns in all major economies," the OECD said in a statement.

The OECD CLIs are designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend -- a turnaround in an indicator tends to precede turning points in economic activity by around six months.

The Group of Seven's CLI fell to 100.6 in September from 101.1 in August while the reading for the euro area dropped to 99.1 from 99.9, well below its long-term average of 100. more

"New right-wing terror in Germany; action is needed"

A group calling itself the National Socialist Underground appears to have committed a series of murders and racially-motivated attacks. DW's Editor-in-Chief Ute Schaeffer calls for broad public discourse on the issue.

There are, as yet, few hard facts, but the circumstantial evidence is alarming: Over a period of 12 years a right-wing extremist group based in the eastern German city of Zwickau appears to have murdered 10 people and committed dozens of bank robberies.

No one seems to have noticed that a system of right-wing, racially-motivated hatred was behind what, until now, was believed to have been isolated cases known as the "Kebab murders".

How could this happen in Germany, a country where the domestic intelligence service and the police are so well trained and equipped?

There were no tenable leads pointing to a right-wing background, according to the German Interior Ministry.

Is this because the authorities are focused primarily on suspected Islamist terrorists; because right-wing ideology is more acceptable; or because informers working for domestic intelligence wanted to hide such connections? more

Cuban oil project fuels US anxieties: Florida would be drenched in oil in an accident

A massive $750m (£473m) Chinese-built oil rig, the Scarabeo 9, is due to arrive in Cuba before the end of the year, to begin drilling a series of exploratory wells.

A whole range of international oil companies from Spain, Norway, Russia, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada, Angola, Venezuela, and China - but not the US - are lining up to hire the rig and search for what are believed to be substantial oil deposits.

"We will drill several wells next year and I'm sure we will have discoveries. It is not a matter of if we have oil, it is a matter of when we are going to start producing," Rafael Tenreiro, head of exploration for the Cuban state-owned oil company Cupet, confidently predicts.

The Spanish company Repsol will be the first to drill, with an exploratory well in extremely deep water just 50 miles (80km) off the coast of Florida. more

The Karabakh horse now faces extinction

Tough, strong and noble; these are the sorts of qualities one would expect from a national symbol.

The fabled Karabakh horse is a rare and beautiful animal that is of great importance to Azerbaijanis.

But the country's national animal that can be found everywhere from its stories to its postage stamps is faced with extinction.

In the thickly forested foothills of Sheki, a small city 300km (187 miles) from the capital Baku, is one of world's largest and purest Karabakh herds.

Their owner, Yashar Guluzade, has been restoring the breed for over a decade in this unspoilt mountainous region.

He says that conflict and a difficult economic situation have led to their decline.

"At the beginning of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict the horses were continually transferred from one place to another and this was one of the reasons for the sharp reduction of stock as the movement of pregnant mares led to miscarriages," he explained. more

Is stress catching? The state of society would exclaim, "yes!"

Until six months ago, Julie Hall loved her job. She had been with the firm for three years, got on with her colleagues and thrived on the challenges of working in a busy HR department. Then a new manager arrived — and everything changed.

‘At first, she seemed nice, if a bit highly strung, but I put it down to new job nerves,’ says Julie, 38, from Wimbledon.

‘But as the weeks went on it became clear that she was the kind of person who got stressed by anything and everything. When she’s upset, which is frequently, she mutters and curses loudly under her breath. It’s really distracting, but if you offer to help she gets defensive. more

Why the euro crisis is an American problem

The Euro crisis is not just a Greek crisis, or an Italian crisis, or now even a French crisis.

It is an American crisis, too, a crisis that may thrust the U.S. economy back into recession in 2012.

If the Euro cracks up, many European banks who hold Euro-denominated bonds will discover that their bonds have lost value. The bonds won't fall to zero (hold on a second for the reason why not), but they will lose enough value to play havoc with the bondholders' capital. The banks will then either have to seek government help or stop their lending to businesses and consumers or both.

The bank crisis will translate into a severe Europe-wide recession, just as the U.S. financial crisis of 2008 created a severe recession in 2009.

Recessions that originate in the financial system cause more suffering and last longer than other kinds of recessions, a record painstakingly (and painfully!) documented by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart in their now-classic study, "This Time It's Different."

The European Union represents a bigger economy even than the United States. If the euro cracks, and euro-holding banks fails, the pain will cross the Atlantic, as the pain of the U.S. crash of 2008 crossed the Atlantic in the opposite direction.

European financial institutions may lose the ability to repay U.S. creditors, inflicting more losses on an already traumatized U.S. financial system. more

How falling ill with dysentery inspired a Kenyan teenager to save his country

When Joel Mwale was hospitalized with dysentery, his doctors advised him to focus his energies on making a full recovery.

The Kenyan student had caught the illness after consuming contaminated water distributed by his municipal council during the country's annual dry season.

But as he lay in bed yearning for medication, Mwale, 18, came upon the idea that would provide his community with access to safe drinking water and put him on the road to becoming one of Africa's most promising young entrepreneurs.

"I thought that what if this thing keeps on happening, year in, year out, what if next year the same problem happens?" he says of the illness which also affected numerous other people in his home village.

"I should do something," he said to himself. "I'm not just going to sit back and watch things happen."

Africa's leaders of the future

Upon his release from hospital Mwale invested his life savings, 10,000 Kenyan Shillings ($95), in building a borehole in his village -- a deep well that could reach the water flowing far beneath the ground.

With the help of local volunteers and tradesmen he began digging on a patch of land close his home and before long they struck water.

The team then set about putting the pipes, infrastructure and mechanical system in place that would enable its extraction.

Almost four years on and the project has been so successful that it still provides clean water to around 500 households, says Mwale.

"It works in such a way that somebody has just got to turn a wheel then a lot of water comes out on the other end," he says.

Galvanized by his DIY borehole success, Mwale soon set about planning bigger projects and investigating how he could bring safe and reliable drinking water to the wider Kenyan population.

He was initially held back by a mixture of financial constraints and the need to help his unemployed mother, but before long he found the spark that would bring him his next project.

"One day while I was walking around my community ... it was raining and I saw water running of the ground," explains Mwale.

"So I said that if there's anything that I can do to be able to trap this rain water, store it in a reservoir, then be able to purify it and sell it to the public ... this can be a good idea," he adds.

With the help of a financial loan from a local farmer, Mwale began investing in the necessary equipment and business infrastructure to put his idea into action.

Within a matter of months he had founded Skydrop -- a company that would come to specialize in capturing falling rain water in a series of giant tanks before purifying and bottling it for sale on the commercial market. more

US speeds up militarization of Iran's neighbors

With American and Iranian relations on the brink of war due to news or a nuclear program being developed out of Tehran, Obama administration insiders say the US is about to cut an arms deal with a powerful American ally in the region.

According to a report published today in the Wall Street Journal, American officials are finalizing a deal that would send advanced “bunker-buster” bombs to the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf. Separated by just a small strait, the UAE has strong ties with American authorities and could help launch an attack on nearby Iran in a moment’s notice should a strike be ordered by Obama.

The move comes after a report from UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Western powers interpreted as proof that Iran continues to develop nukes despite statement that any nuclear program in the Islamic republic was for peaceful purposes only.

“An Iran armed with nuclear weapons is an intolerable threat to regional and international security, and we remain determined to prevent that outcome,” White House press secretary Jay Carney responded to reporters upon the release of the finding.

Sources close to the rumored deal between Washington and Abu Dhabi report that the deal would put 500 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles into the UAE, in addition to 4,900 so-called smart bombs. Those “bunker-busters,” once deployed, could quickly disintegrate underground warhead factories where Iranians are rumored to be working on nuclear weaponry. more

Does the government really care about privacy?

If you wondered how strict the Federal Trade Commission is with tackling corporations over assaults on customer privacy, you’ll be relieved to know that the FTC is ending its investigation with Facebook.

The FTC has been going after Zuckerberg and company over a scandal in which Facebook exposed personal data of its users across the Web after updating their privacy settings in 2009 and not clueing-in their customers.

If you actually are interested in how its wrapping up, however, you might just be pissed.

Once again, the FTC is ending an epic battle of privacy issues of everyday Americans be responding with a slap on the wrist against one of the biggest corporations in the country. Although concerns amounted around the world after Facebook openly published personal data online two years ago without letting their users know they would do so, the FTC is about to ask Facebook, “Hey guys, don’t let it happen again, alright?”

Details on the pop-and-fizzle settlement have been reported to the Wall Street Journal by people close to the talks. It won’t be the first time a case of such monumental concern ended with a bust, though.

The FTC exists in part to protect private citizens and their data from the greedy hands of money-hungry corporations. As the Internet became more commonplace, the first time the FTC intervened in a major case was back in 1999 after the website GeoCities was revealed to have misrepresented the purposes for which it was collecting personal data from both children and adults. After the FTC involved itself in the collection of information, which included address, gender, income and occupation, the end result was that GeoCities had to update their advisory to make it clearer as to the purpose of their data collection. more

The Great Swindle of 2000: The Swindle Continues!

USA spending more on nukes now than during Cold War

Though it has been decades since the Cold War came to a close, the United States government spends more money on nuclear warheads now than it did during its stand-off with the Soviet Union.

As the US vows to cut down its arsenal of nuclear weapons, the cost the country spends annually on maintaining its supply is much more than America invested each year during the Cold War. Estimates suggest that currently the US puts around $55 billion annually into its nuclear weapons program, reports Mother Jones; by comparison, the cost of the nuke complex for the country during the Cold War ran at an average of only $35 billion each year.

Only three months into his presidency, Barack Obama said in April 2009 that he envisioned an Earth in the future fee of nuclear weapons. Just two years later, however, America’s arsenal of those warheads amounts to roughly 2,500 nukes ready to be deployed.

It was only less than two weeks ago that the United States finally dismantled its largest atomic bomb, the B53, which was said to be 600 times more powerful than the nuke that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan towards the finale of the Second World War. As that nuke was dismantled, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman told NPR that the bomb was a “Cold War relic” and showed the direction of dismantling that the United States was heading towards.

Even if the country is cutting back on its nukes, the United States has a backup stash larger than the active bombs, allowing for the country to in total have 5,113 nuclear warheads in its position. The surplus of not-quite-ready nukes is at 2,600, and though they cannot be deployed at a drop of a hat like the others, they can be reanimated as full-fledged warheads.

Peter Fedewa of the pro-disarmament Ploughshares Fund says that those nukes “could be 'raised from the dead' and brought back into deployment with relative ease." more

Socializing losses: Trilateral takeover of Europe?

The sovereign debt crisis tightening its grip on Europe has claimed the scalps of two prime ministers – those of Greece and Italy. Looking at the men poised to replace them, one cannot but ask – is this another turn of the screw for ordinary people?

Greece and Italy hold huge swathes of public debt they are unable to service unless they get massive European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund support, as a prelude to refinancing by international banks.

Greece has replaced its prime minister after he dared to say he would put a further round of harsh austerity measures to a referendum vote. The country’s new PM is Lucas Papademos, former vice president of the ECB and of Greece’s own Central Bank, and a member of David Rockefeller’s (JPMorgan Chase/Exxon) powerful Trilateral Commission.

As for Italy, instead of Silvio Berlusconi they got the former European Commissioner Mario Monti, who happens to be European chairman of the Trilateral Commission.

Whenever we hear of “sovereign debt crises” – whether in Mexico 1997, Brazil 1999, in my native Argentina in 2001/2, or today in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and (soon to come) the UK, France, or the US – what it really means is that governments cannot collect enough tax revenues from their people to pay interest and capital on debt that is mostly in the hands of private banking institutions.

Cutting through the Orwellian Newspeak* of the media, this means that the people of Greece, Italy, and Argentina must pay for the mistakes of bankers and corrupt governments, suffering higher taxes, unemployment, lower wages and pensions, and a deterioration in public healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

So, whenever there is a public debt crisis, “We the People” must pay for it. more

Zakaria: Don't rush to war with Iran

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued its most serious warning about Iran's nuclear program. It argued that Iran seems to have experimented with various technologies that suggest that it was trying to build not just a nuclear program, but a nuclear weapons program. This finding, to be clear, is at odds with the views of the former head of the IAEA, Mohamed Elbaradei, as well as the report issued a few years ago by the U.S. National Intelligence Council.

It's difficult to be sure what to make of these intelligence judgments because they are trying to determine the intentions of the Iranian regime. One thing is clear: Iran is developing an increasingly robust nuclear program.

Having read all the reports, I'm still not sure that anyone knows what Iran's plan is. Is it to develop a breakout capacity? This would mean developing a nuclear program and a missile program but not marrying the two together. That would keep Iran within the legal framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it has signed and takes pains every year to prove that it adheres to. Or is the plan it to develop the weapons themselves?

Frankly, the former would be the smarter course. It would get the benefits of increased influence; it would be seen as having nuclear capacity without attracting the total clampdown on trade and other sanctions that would come with actual weapons.

But let's take the IAEA report as valid. It still makes the case for some kind of contact with Iran. As he left office as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen said that one of his greatest worries was that we had no communication with Iran. He worried about miscalculations –misreading of intentions - and thus war. more

Study links regular religious service attendance, outlook on life

A new study shows that attending religious services regularly can mean a more optimistic, less depressed, and less cynical outlook on life.

In a follow-up to its 2008 report that found that attending services increases life expectancy, the Women's Health Initiative observational study based this report on a survey of 92,539 post-menopausal women over 50. The participants made up an ethnically, religiously, and socioeconomically diverse group.

According to the report, to be published this week in the Journal of Religion and Health, those who attend services frequently were 56% more likely to have an optimistic life outlook than those who don't and were 27% less likely to be depressed. Those who attended weekly were less likely to be characterized by cynical hostility, compared with those who did not report any religious service attendance.

"We looked at a number of psychological factors; optimism, depression, cynical hostility, and a number of subcategories and subscales involving social support and social strain," said Eliezer Schnall an associate professor of psychology at Yeshiva University in Manhattan, who headed the initiative.

"The link between religious activity and health is most evident in women, specifically older women," he said.

The research focused on an important group, because "as they are living longer," Schnall said, "seniors are a growing group, and women have longer lifespans than men." more

Will governments soon read minds?

“My thoughts, they roam freely. Who can ever guess them?”

So goes an old German folk song. But imagine living in a world where someone can guess your thoughts, or even know them for certain. A world where science can reach into the deep recesses of your brain and pull out information that you thought was private and inaccessible.

Would that worry you?

If so, then start worrying. The age of mind reading is upon us.

Neuroscience is advancing so rapidly that, under certain conditions, scientists can use sophisticated brain imaging technology to scan your brain and determine whether you can read a particular language, what word you are thinking of, even what you are dreaming about while you are asleep.

The research is still new, and the kinds of information scientists can find through brain imaging are still simple. But the recent pace of progress in neuroscience has been startling and new studies are being published all the time.

In one experiment, researchers at Carnegie Mellon looked at images of people’s brains when they were thinking of some common objects – animals, body parts, tools, vegetables – and recorded which areas of their brains activated when they thought about each object.

The scientists studied patterns of brain activity while subjects thought about 58 such objects. Then they predicted what the person’s brain would look like if researchers gave them a brand new object, like “celery.”

The scientists’ predictions were surprisingly accurate.

Many scholars predicted as recently as a few years ago that we would never get this far. Now we have to ask: If we can tell what words you are thinking of, is it much longer before we will be able to read complex thoughts? more

Why is the US giving aid to China?

China's rich grow in numbers, and seek to emigrate

Despite the global financial crisis, China's rich are getting richer.

"As of April this year, China has 960,000 millionaires with personal assets of 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million)," says Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of the Hurun Research Institute, which compiles China's rich list.

"It has 60,000 super-rich with 100 million yuan assets, and their numbers keep growing," he says.

The newly affluent are getting more outwardly mobile, too.

Nearly half of them are thinking of emigrating overseas, according to a Hurun Research Institute report. About 14 per cent of them have or are in the process of applying for emigration, it said.

"In Chinese, emigration refers also to getting a permanent residency, or a 'green card'," Hoogewerf explains. "We estimate this to make up 80% of the total who want to 'emigrate'."

Many businessmen are capitalizing on this trend. Among them is Larry Wang, founder and chairman of Well Trend United Inc, one of the leading immigration consulting companies in China.

Born and bred in Beijing, Wang went to Canada in 1985 for post-graduate studies. He stayed until 1995 when he decided to return to Beijing. more

Study: Native Hawaiians treated differently by justice system

Are Native Hawaiians getting a fair shake in our legal system? New numbers show that 40% of all prisoners in Hawaii are Native Hawaiians, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) says that's no coincidence.

A blind-folded lady is the symbol of justice in the US, but OHA says a study by a non-profit group shows that justice is not blind towards Native Hawaiians.

Daniel Kahanaoi was locked up for life plus 20 years for shooting a Honolulu attorney to death last year. The judge gave Kahanaoi the stiffer punishment for "utter lack of remorse."

But, a new study by the justice policy institute in Washington DC suggests that Native Hawaiians are more likely to be sent to prison and for longer periods of time than other ethnic communities.

"For example a Japanese person is sentenced to 14 fewer days of probation and whites to nearly 21 fewer days than Native Hawaiians" said OHA Executive Director Clyde Namuo.

The study also found that Native Hawaiians don't use drugs more than other races, but go to prison more for drug offenses. Richard Naiwieha Wurdeman says he's seen it during his 17 years representing Native Hawaiian defendants.

"Our society can't stand for such disparate treatment" said Wurdeman. more

Europe’s Banks Found Safety of Bonds a Costly Illusion

As the bets that European banks made on United States mortgage investments went bust a few years ago, bankers piled into what they saw as a safe refuge: bonds issued by countries in Europe’s seemingly ironclad monetary union.

Now, the political and financial crisis engulfing the Continent has turned much of that European sovereign debt into the latest distressed asset, sending tremors through global financial markets not seen since the demise of the investment bank Lehman Brothers more than three years ago.

This week, shortly after European leaders formally conceded that Greece could not pay its debts and forced banks to accept losses, the shock waves reached Italy, the third-largest economy in the euro zone after France and Germany. And despite frantic efforts by politicians to contain the damage, market analysts said that France, one of the strongest countries in the euro zone, may soon feel the impact.

“When people started buying more European sovereign debt, there was not a cloud in the sky,” said Yannis Stournaras, director of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, based in Athens. Now, he said, “This crisis is going to last because the perceptions of risk have changed dramatically.”

European banks face tens and possibly hundreds of billions of dollars in losses on loans to nations that use the euro. Worried about even greater losses if the crisis worsens, the banks have been scrambling to reduce their holdings of an investment that, like triple-A-rated subprime mortgage bonds, was once thought to be bulletproof. more

WTO Chief: Russia's Accession Good For Global Economy -- Is it?

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy believes that Russia’s admission to the WTO will benefit the global economy, as well as the country itself.

­ It will give Russia an impetus for modernization, make it attractive to foreign investors and insure it against protectionism abroad. But Lamy admitted: “some will have to adjust and this understandably creates some resistance at home”. Watch our full interview with Pascal Lamy to find out more. source

Nuke rumble: "Press the Persians, or else"

While media sources warn that Israel’s attack on Iran’s nuclear sites is imminent, US officials says sanctions would be just as effective as bombs in stopping Iran from building nuclear arms. Other say sanctions are no solution either.

An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would not achieve the goal of halting its nuclear program, but could instead have “unintended consequences”, believes US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The head of the Pentagon told RTT news on Thursday that he personally preferred the use of "the toughest sanctions – economic, diplomatic pressures – on Iran to change their behavior."

A similar statement came from State Department spokesman Mark Toner, who said the US is consulting with international allies over what the next steps should be.

“Certainly we’re going to look at ways that we can ramp up economic pressure on Iran,” he said on Thursday at a media conference.

Earlier, a number of countries and the European Union said they favored a new round of sanctions against Tehran as the way of applying more leverage and forcing Iran into allaying international concerns over its nuclear program. more

Arnie Gundersen: Why the NRC Sucks

Lukashenko warns of superpower threat

With the events of 2011 in mind, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko praises military-technical cooperation with Russia after reviewing the results of a joint military exercise held with Russian forces.

­"The military-technical cooperation with the Russian Federation has proven fruitful,” Lukashenko said on Friday. “Military cooperation between Belarus and Russia makes the countries stronger as members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization."

Lukashenko’s comments were in response to a report submitted by Belarusian Defense Minister Yury Zhadobin on the performance of the armed forces in Union Shield–2011, a large-scale joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise that took place in September.

The military exercise was held at two Russian training ranges: Gorokhovetsky in the Nizhny Novgorod region and Ushuluk in the Astrakhan region. About 12,000 soldiers from both countries participated in the exercises, which involved the use of some 50 fighter jets and helicopters.

Although the two nations have experienced occasional setbacks in their relations, mostly involving economic disagreements, relations between Minsk and Moscow remain on solid ground.

The strength of the alliance relations between Belarus and Russia has been confirmed, the Belarusian leader added, while heaping praise on the performance of the Belarusian troops. more

‘EU is showing its true nature as a dictatorship’

This is a time of upheaval for the EU, with both the Greek and Italian PMs giving up their posts. The Paris Institute's John Laughland says that this undemocratic transfer of power is not going to save the euro.

­Laughland told RT that the people who have assumed power in Greece and are shortly to take the helm in Italy have never been elected.

“These are men who have made their entire careers through garnering important appointments in places like the European Commission or European Central Bank. They have no democratic mandate at all,” he argues. “What is so frightening about what is happening now, as the European Union and the euro enter their death agonies, is the way in which the European Union is showing its true nature as a dictatorship.”

After all, it is the euro that has effectively commanded these two prime ministers to leave office, not the people, says Laughland.

“Papandreou had to leave office the moment he suggested the referendum on the debt package. Berlusconi had to leave office the moment he said that Italians had become poorer under the euro,” Laughland recalls.

He believes that it is a very ugly development in Europe, where people are being put in power because they serve the interests and demands of the European Union, not because they have got any electoral support in their home countries. more

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR NORTH COAST OF NEW GUINEA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 20th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck near the North Coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the quake hit at 18:00:13 UTC Sunday 20th November 2011.
The epicenter was 120 km ( 74 miles) ESE of Vanimo, New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Devastating disease spreads from fish to other marine species at Gladstone, Australia - 20th Nov 2011

Image: A near-dead turtle washed up at Gladstone Harbour on Curtis Island. Pic: David Kapernick

The sickness plaguing a central Queensland fishery has spread to prawns and other species.

There is no end in sight to the crisis which has decimated the fishing industry in the burgeoning port of Gladstone.

The State Government has yet to release the full results of tests into a red parasite found in barramundi and sharks.

Now fishermen say the disease has spread to a range of fish as well as prawns and turtles.

A tour of the harbour revealed prawns with pea-sized tumours and deformed fish, a dead turtle as well as several other turtles appearing sick and distressed.

While the Government has denied claims that dozens of turtles were found dead near Curtis Island last weekend, commercial fishermen believe the harbour is sick and dying. Read More

150 MPs asked to resign through anonymous threatening SMS: Resign or be Killed, Pakistan - 19th Nov 2011

Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said that 150 Parliamentarians have recently received anonymous threatening messages, asking them to resign from their seats, otherwise they would be killed.

He said these messages were sent throuh Short Message Service (SMS) to the Parliamentarians which included Senators, Members of the National and Provincial Assemblies.
“With the help of Cyber Crime Wing, two people have been arrested in this regard from Larkana. According to preliminary investigation, the culprits, misused the identity cards of these detained persons”, he said. “It is strange that how the culprits managed to get the contact numbers of VIPs,” he added.

Rehman Malik said the matter is being probed thoroughly and the Cyber Crime Wing would soon indentify people involved in sending the messages for due legal action.

He was talking to media after attending a ceremony held in connection with Sindh Cultural Day organized by a local television channel here. Sindh Senior Minister Pir Mazharul Haq was also present on the occasion.

On a question, Rehman Malik said Ambassador to United States Hussain Haqqani had been summoned to Islamabad to explain the issue and the matter would be “open for investigation,” if required. Read More

Billy E. Hyatt fired for not wearing "666" sticker at job

A Georgia factory worker claims in a federal lawsuit that he was fired after he refused to wear a 666 sticker he feared would doom him to eternal damnation.

Billy E. Hyatt claims he was fired from Pliant Corp., a plastics factory in northern Georgia near Dalton, after he refused to wear a sticker proclaiming that his factory had been accident-free for 666 days. That number is considered the "mark of the beast" in the Bible's Book of Revelation describing the apocalypse.

Hyatt, who said he's a devout Christian, had worked for the north Georgia plastics company since June 2007 and like other employees wore stickers each day that proclaimed how long the factory had gone without an accident.

But he grew nervous in early 2009 as the number of accident-free days crept into the 600s. As the company's safety calendar approached day 666, Hyatt said he approached a manager and explained that wearing it would force him "to accept the mark of the beast and to be condemned to hell." He said the manager assured him he wouldn't have to wear the number.

When the day came on March 12, 2009, Hyatt sought a manager to discuss his request. He said he was told that his beliefs were "ridiculous" and that he should wear the sticker or serve a three-day suspension.

Hyatt took the three-day suspension, and was fired at a human resources meeting several days later. He then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and his attorney Stephen Mixon said the agency granted him the right to sue the company in August. more

5.6 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR NORTH COAST OF NEW GUINEA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA - 20th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck near the North Coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 28.6 km (17.8 miles), the quake hit at 16:31:41 UTC Sunday 20th November 2011.
The epicenter was 99 km ( 61 miles) ESE of Vanimo, New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake BANDA SEA, INDONESIA - 20th Nov 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck the Banda Sea, Indonesia at a depth of 386.2 km (240 miles), the quake hit at 15:04:31 UTC Sunday 20th November 2011.
The epicenter was 313 km ( 195 miles) South of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW): It looks like a Falcon HTV-2, it acts like a Falcon HTV-2... but it's not a Falcon HTV-2?

We all remember the huge press announcements that came with the second launch of the Falcon Project in August 2011, with the first test flight only lasting 9 minutes before being deliberately crashed as a safety measure due to technical difficulties.

The Darpa Falcon Project is a Joint project between Defense Advanced Research Projects Agnecy (DARPA) and the United States Air force (USAF) to develop reusable Rapid Strike Hypersonic Weapon System (HWS) but has since been retitled Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle (HCV).

The first Test flight first flew on 22nd April 2010, which was followed by a second test Flight on the 11th August 2011. Both flights failed (both failed to fly controlled over 9 minutes).

Back in August it did seem very strange that this was conducted so openly in view of the media; they even provided the launch video for this 2nd testing. However, if you were spending billions on a new weapon with a completion date of 2025, would you share such a mega-project so openly with the world's public in 2011?

Now, with two failed attempts behind them, and making noises that Falcon has been scrapped due to the failed previous flights, they have suddenly just 3 months later shown us The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), which is 12ft long like the Falcon, which can hold up to 12,000 lbs payload (a little bit more than the Falcon), and made from carbon composite materials to withstand up to 2000C (which is 1200C more than the Falcon).

So, they managed to make a stronger, more heat resistant Falcon lookalike and got it to fly successfully within 3 months? Maybe this is the case because the AHW is 13,000 miles per hour slower, but still, is it not convenient that this machine of war is ready just in time when everyone is walking on hot coals around Iran?

This weapon, craft, or whatever they want to call it has likely been ready for years. They have denied the existence of hypersonic weapons for just as long, but now suddenly this year admitted they were working on such a device, with the caveat that the completion date wouldn't be until 2025 and that the entire project could even be scrapped if the 2nd test flight failed. Such a failure may have been exactly what they wanted the world to witness, hence the huge publicity surrounding the 2nd flight test. Was this all aimed at camouflaging their real research and development activities?

As for the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon itself, we may well see this in use sooner rather than later.

Hundreds defect from Yemen's military as nation hurtles towards civil war

More than 400 troops defected from the Yemeni military Saturday evening, saying they would no longer attack unarmed protesters.

The troops announced their defection after standing for hours in front of tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Sanaa and vowing to support their cause with their lives.

"We will stand with the will of the people and will not kill unarmed youth. We are here to defend the people and we will do that," one soldier told CNN.

"The butcher must stand trial," the troops shouted as they marched in what has been known as Change Square Sanaa.

The organizing committee in the square announced this week that dozens of unarmed youth activists were killed by government forces over the past month. The committee says nearly 1,000 youths have been killed by the government since protests began in January.

Hours after the celebration, the defecting troops were welcomed at the military compound of Gen. Mohsen Ahmar, who defected from the government forces in March.

The majority of the troops were members of the Republican Guards and central security forces, which are headed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's eldest son and nephew.

Youth activists celebrated the defection.

"With every day that passes, this oppressive regime is weakened," Abdul Nasser al-Kulaibi, a youth protester in Sanaa, told CNN. "Saleh will soon be surprised to see the rug beneath him pulled away and he will fall without expecting it." more

Egypt protesters flee security in Tahrir Square -

Hundreds of Egyptian army and police forces pushed into Cairo's Tahrir Square Sunday, making thousands of demonstrators flee in the face of tear gas and what sounded like live fire.

Clashes had broken out in the square earlier Sunday, the second day of unrest there ahead of the country's elections.

By noon Sunday, Tahrir was fully occupied, with demonstrators barricading streets around the square and blocking traffic.

Eighteen people were arrested and transferred to a military prosecutor, Alaa Mahmoud of the interior ministry said before the security push into the square that was the symbolic heart of Egypt's revolution at the beginning of the year.

The minister of education dismissed schools near the square for the day, according to state TV.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, but before the army joined them later in the day, the situation appeared calmer than on Saturday, when rifts between police and protesters left two people dead in two cities, the health ministry reported.

At least 928 people have been injured from the clashes in Egypt, the health ministry said Sunday. Read More

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA REGION - 20th Nov 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck the Tonga Region at a depth of 5.3 km (3.3 miles Poorly Constrained), the quake hit at 14:09:28 UTC Sunday 20th November 2011.
The epicenter was 216 km ( 134 miles) South of Nuku'Alofa, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Peace Plan for Syria Rejected - 20th Nov 2011

The Arab League has rejected a request by Damascus to amend plans to send a monitoring mission to Syria to stop the bloodshed in the eight-month uprising.

The 22-member body had given President Bashar al Assad until Saturday to abide by an Arab plan aimed at ending the country's violent crackdown on protests.

Sky News revealed on Friday that the Syrian government had sent a letter to the Arab League indicating its willingness to co-operate, but that some details in the plan still needed to be worked out.

But a day after the deadline, and they are no closer to reaching a solution, as the League has said the "drastic changes" put forward by Damascus would not be approved because they alter the "essence" of the plan.

The league wants to send a 500-strong mission into the country to monitor the situation. Its plan provides for the withdrawal of the government's tanks from the streets, the release of political prisoners and a halt to attacks on civilians.

The rejection comes as at least two rocket-propelled grenades reportedly hit a Syrian government building - and President Bashar al Assad vowing to defend and die in his country if necessary. Read More

Saif Gaddafi To Face Trial In Libya - 20th Nov 2011

The National Transitional Council has voted for Saif al Islam Gaddafi to be tried in Libya, according to Sky sources.

Libyan information minister Mahmoud Shammam says the decision will be discussed with the ICC's chief prosecutor when he visits Libya on Monday.

Saif is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity.

Mr Shammam said it would only be fair for Libyans to try Saif at home where he "committed crimes against Libyan people".

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Mysterious Odor Detected At Fort Detrick Area B, State of Maryland - 20th Nov 2011

Tests are being done after an odor was detected during drilling at Fort Detrick. It's concerning because the odor is coming from an area that's been contaminated with toxins.

Contaminants were buried at the site when Fort Detrick's Biological Weapons program was ended in the 1970s.

Robert Sperling with Fort Detrick said employees noticed the odor last Wednesday while they were installing a well. But that information wasn't released until Saturday morning.

"Once they smelled the odors, they stopped what they were doing, and they put on protective gear, they put on a respirator," he said in a phone interview with 9 NEWS NOW's Lindsey Mastis.

Sperling said vapor didn't travel off base and therefore, is not a threat to the community. Read More

A major alert has been issued as Trading Standards search Salford shops for fake vodka made with 'lethal' chemical - 19th Nov 2011

A major alert has been issued after the seizure of 150 bottles of counterfeit vodka laced with chemicals that can put people in a coma.

Teams of trading standards officers worked late into the night yesterday to search 172 shops, off licences, pubs and clubs across Salford after the discovery of the highly-toxic booze.

The counterfeit products were found at stores in Langworthy and Broughton.

Council officials said the seized bottles – falsely branded as Smirnoff Red Label and an unknown brand, Drop Vodka – are potentially lethal and contain a chemical which can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness – and even induce a coma.

The first discovery was made yesterday morning when officers raided a shop in Langworthy and seized 74 bottles of the fake Smirnoff and 15 bottles of Drop.

It came after a resident contacted the council complaining of the booze ‘tasting funny’.

A further 15 bottles were seized from a shop in Broughton yesterday afternoon.

However it is feared many more could be on sale or have been bought. Read More